September 3, 2008

Paula Danziger

Posted by at 9:39 am in Authors, Reads | Permalink

When you really, really love the books written by a particular author, do you ever find yourself curious to know more about the person behind the stories? I know I do. Paula Danziger is one of my most favorite authors. She creates quirky, lovable characters who go through tough experiences with sometimes painful, always touching, and really funny results. Her characters are never perfect people, but they’re always real.

One of the cool things about working at a place like Scholastic is having access to authors. And I’ll let you in on a little secret: authors are often friends with other authors. While Paula Danziger sadly passed away in 2004, her good friend — and fellow author — Elizabeth Levy let me in on a few things you probably didn’t know about Paula Danziger:

1. Paula was a good driver. And being a New Yorker, those two things don’t often go together. Her driving is an amazing tribute to who she is, because she was in not one, but two, serious automobile accidents on the same day when she was a young teacher before she wrote The Cat Ate my Gymsuit. So it’s one of the surprising things about Paula was that nothing ever stopped her.

2. She was incredibly well organized. She loved folders in the brightest colors and drawers and drawers to keep all the things she collected, but she always knew where everything was — well, not her keys — but almost everything.

3. She was a major truth-teller — not just in her books, but with her good friends. If you hurt her feelings, or if you were doing something that she thought was hurting you, she’d let you know — and then we’d talk it out and out and out. No matter where she was in the world, Paula would call, sometimes several times a day. My favorite call, because she knew that I woke up early, was: “Are you awake?” Well, sweetie, the phone just rang?

4. And yes, the puns came just as fast in real life as they did in her books. Even or perhaps best during the tough times. Once when she had a bruise, and I wanted her to put frozen peas on it. She looked up and said, “You want me to give peas a chance . . . ”

Those folders and drawers sound amazing. And doesn’t she sound like a really cool friend? Take a look at my bookshelf and these are the books that you’ll see by Paula Danziger:
The Cat Ate My Gymsuit
Can You Sue Your Parents for Malpractice?
The Divorce Express
The Pistachio Prescription (my favorite of hers, I think)
There’s a Bat in Bunk Five
It’s an Aardvark-Eat-Turtle World

Which of Paula Danziger’s books are on YOUR bookshelf?

— Amy, Editor

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